My first China experience was not in 2008 when I first stepped into the Chinese soil in Zhejiang province for a work assignment.
It was not when my passport was stamped with a single entry visa in Beijing early this year.
My first China experience was when I was introduced to “siopao” which my late uncle specialized in my mother’s home province in Mindoro. It was my first taste of the yummy pancit at Ma Mon Luk in Cubao, Quezon City where my family used to celebrate some special occasions during my younger years. It was the bola-bola siopao which remains one of my favorites in Kowloon. Don’t we just love the hopia and tikoy for snack?
My first China experience: Knowing about Henry Sy, the shopping magnate who owns the successful chain of SM department stores in the country. Then there’s the Gokongwei family whose Robinson’s department stores were subject of a myth about having a big snake in one of their branches — Robinson’s Galleria, I think. Now both Sy and Gokongwei have expanded their empires, getting involved and aggressive in the high-rise condominium construction and real estate projects.
Then there’s my Kung Fu shoes which I wore to school during my younger years. Then there were the rubber shoes and school bags with “Made in China” labels on them.
On my table alone, the small lampshade I am using is from China. Then there’s that small Hello Kitty replica (with lights), a souvenir I recently got from Beijing.
Then there are some electronics including a CCTV equipment, a mini voice recorder and a key chain spy cam, which I also bought in Beijing.
A digital frame my sister gave me as “pasalubong” from the United States, says it was also “Made in China”.
Before the Kung Fu Panda phenomenon, we were awed at Karate Kid. We loved Jackie Chan movies.
Long before I had the chance to go to China, little did we, Filipinos, knew that China already “invaded” us, little by little, through their influx of products in our country.
China was dubbed as a sleeping dragon in recent years by its own leaders. Now, China — the Dragon — has awaken, taking the number two slot in the world’s top economies. It has overtaken Japan and raring to beat the United States in the number one spot.
Now, the Philippines is fighting for its right over the disputed Spratlys Islands in the West Philippine Sea. The Philippine’s leaders have admitted that the government does not have enough equipment in its arsenal to fight China’s bullying tactics in the West Philippine Sea (also known as the South China Sea). Thus, the buzz word now is “diplomacy”.
What we do not know is, China (and even the Chinese) has been in the Philippine shores even before they started to flex their muscles in the Spratlys. Just look at China town in Binondo, Manila.